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Don't Miss the Jan. 22 Fields Referendum, Says Resident

Send your Letter to the Editor to natalie.davis@patch.com

Jan. 22th is fast approaching.

Hopefully Parsippany voters will come out that day to vote on the Board of Education Athletic Field Improvement Referendum.

I have given great consideration to this referendum. From my involvement with the open space ordinance and the Fields of Dreams proposal I have studied and reviewed the positives and negatives on the improvements to the athletic fields at Parsippany High School and Parsippany Hills High School. 

I felt the mayor's plan to use township Open Space Trust Fund money to pay for school athletic improvements was wrong. The Open Space Trust Fund was originally designed to protect and preserve the few remaining open tracts of land from development and to save our town’s historic heritage.

The Board of Education and the township function independently from one another. This is in the best interest of the school-age children and the taxpayers of Parsippany. That is why I felt the Board of Education was right in rejecting the township’s proposal for a jointure regarding the Fields of Dreams.

The hows and whys of what caused the deterioration of the athletic fields have been discussed and debated for months. It would be useless to continue this course. A plan has been developed by the Board of Education. It must be bonded through referendum.

The improvements to the athletic fields are in the best interest of all who will use them and visit them. It is also in the best interest of the Parsippany taxpayers. Band-aid fixes to the fields will be a waste of money if the referendum is rejected. A permanent solution makes sense in the long term. The Jan. 22 referendum opens the door for this to happen.

Please weigh all the facts and make your choice to approve or reject this referendum. It is important to keep in mind the long-term benefit to the students and taxpayers of Parsippany. Be sure to vote on Jan. 22.

Mary Purzycki
Lake Parsippany

Chris January 12, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Thanks Mary for this well thought out opinion. This IS in the best interest of the students now and for years to come. I was in favor of the FOD project only because I've seen the BOE cast aside this issue for 10 years. I, for one, thank the Mayor for bringing this issue to the forefront and forcing the BOE to make a decision. I agree that the use of the OSTF was not the best solution but at the time I felt is was the only solution. I commend the BOE for taking this project on and I commend you for standing up against the FOD project even though I was for it, because it has resulted in this referendum. Thank you Mary Purzycki.
Bob Venezia January 12, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Mary, I agree with you that the students deserve the improved playing conditions and the extended playing time that the artificial turf fields would provide. Yet, I cannot support this referendum because, in addition to the $2 million cost of the fields, it includes over $5 million in wish-list items. A state of the art , high intensity night lighting system is a luxury item that has nothing to do with the improvement of safety for the athletes. And the repairing or replacement of fences, tracks, bleachers, bathrooms, etc., has always been a function of the regular school budget. In my opinion, the inclusion of these items in the referendum is an attempt to offload some of the BOE's regular budget expenses, i.e. the BOE is using part of the referendum as an end run around the 2% cap. If the referendum is defeated, I believe that the students will still get their fields. Based on past history, defeated referendums are trimmed down, re-packaged, and re-submitted to the public.The prime example of this is the 2006 referendum which was defeated at $85 million but approved at $47 million. If the current referendum is defeated, I expect the same thing to happen. It will be scaled down and re-submitted as a fields-only project with a cost of about $2 million. The safety of the students would still be accommodated -- just without the bells and whistles. And it seems like it would be a solution that both of us could support.
Chris January 12, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Bob, I have a great deal of respect for you. You are a very nice man and an asset to our community. Throughout this whole process you have conducted yourself like gentlemen, which is more than I can say for some others. Even though we disagree here, I hope you have the same opinion of me. I understand your position and you have every right to it. While I can understand that some items are "luxury" items in your eyes, I respectfully disagree. Bleachers are not being replaced, rather ADA compliant bleachers are being added. Bathrooms are not a luxury in any way shape or form. Port-a-Potties are disgusting and a stinky embarrassment. LIghts, perhaps, can be considered a luxury, however, to get the most value out of our tax dollars on a "multi-purpose" field, lights would allow FALL HS programs to practice from 7-9 during the fall months enabling 3 fall programs to practice each day on that surface. Without lights, practice time ends at 5:00 and only 1 team gets to use the field from 3-5. With lights, you have 3-5, 5-7 and 7-9. It makes sense to include track replacement in the referendum. You are right, you can do this within the budget at another time but it would cost more. Whenever you do a large scope project that includes more items within it, you get more for your money.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 22, 2013 at 02:53 PM
I am with Bob on this one -- the lack of competitive multiple bids and the typical pork belly approach to government leaves this a no vote for us. Also I don't think highly of the Mayor tactics with the Open Space funds and his general competency and leadership skills are questionable at best (hoping that we find a better candidate to support this election year).

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